Thank you to everyone who attended the International Baccalaureate (IB) Global Conference, Adelaide, in March 2023. We are so grateful to all who gathered in person to discuss Education for an inclusive future.
More than 1,100 attendees from 34 countries met in Adelaide to engage in thought-provoking discussion and bring a newfound sense of inspiration back to the classroom. Attendees explored fresh ideas and skills for teaching and discussed best practices for the future of education. Held under the theme Education for an inclusive future, attendees explored how to navigate the evolving educational landscape through a forward-thinking and open-minded approach to learning and teaching.
Our wonderful line-up of speakers shared unique perspectives on education through their own experiences and areas of expertise. We were truly inspired by the impactful discussions and heart-warming sense of community.
On the first day, we were treated to an incredible performance by Pembroke School’s Concert Choir. It was an honor and delight to hear the talented chorale of IB students.
Dr Helen Drennen, Chair of the IB Board of Governors followed with the open remarks. She detailed the IB’s conference theme of Education for an inclusive future, and vision to solve challenges relevant to the future of students today.
We remember her remarks with the quote, “The world is rapidly changing and if our teaching and learning practices are to prepare students for the world in which they will live, our knowledge and understanding must deepen, and our educational practice expand.”
We proudly hosted IB alumni, Jasmine Werneburg who shared her story with the IB and how it contributed to her growth. Jasmine completed her IB Diploma at Adelaide’s Woodcroft College in 2014 and a combined degree of Law, Business Management and Advanced Leadership at Flinders University in Adelaide in 2021. She now works as a disability and human rights lawyer at Equality Lawyers in Adelaide, South Australia. We were all inspired by her passions and professional journey.
Our first keynote speaker, Dr Helen Street, addressed the importance of taking an inclusive approach to supporting well-being in schools. Dr Street is an internationally acclaimed educational consultant and applied social psychologist. A true pioneer in the development of long-term learning engagement and well-being, we were profoundly impacted by her words and teaching.
“Our well-being is not simply about a set of achievements or outcomes that we hold as individuals. Rather, our well-being is more about the spaces between us. It’s about how we connect with our context, and how those contexts support us. I believe that if we can focus our support for well-being in the spaces between us, then each of us will have more well-being within us.”
The second day opened with two astounding performances by students Claire Davies and Chloe Dowd from Mercedes College.
The General session started with the Festival of Hope Panel, which centered around fostering inspiration, community and action. We heard from youth leaders Thenu Herath, CEO of Oaktree, Char Palmer, student at Woodleigh School, and Ayla Blair-Smith, student from Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington. The panel was moderated by IB Director General, Olli-Pekka Heinonen.
Festival of Hope’s purpose is to create safe spaces for young people to come together and have a voice that inspires action. During this discussion we learned how we can turn fear into hope and make an impact in areas that need change.
We invite all to learn more about Festival of Hope here.
The panel discussion was followed by our community voice, Claire Cooper. Claire studied for her IB Diploma from 2016 to 2018 at Sir Henry Floyd, a grammar school in England. She went on to do a degree in history and international relations followed by a master’s degree in conflict, security and development, both at the University of Exeter. We thank Claire for her profound speech and thoughtful message.
We then heard from our Keynote speaker, Dr Jane Jarvis, Principal Research Fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research. Dr Jarvis discussed what it really means to teach academically diverse learners in an inclusive school effectively. We remember the speech with this quote, “If we are going to educate young people for an inclusive future, we need to ensure they experience inclusive learning experiences within inclusive schools. As educators, this means knowing exactly what ‘inclusive’ looks like at the classroom, school and system level.”
Finally, we wrapped up the conference with a student performance by Pembroke Schools Chinese Orchestra and Combined String Orchestras. Thank you to all students for your remarkable performances at this conference.
Our community voice, Hui Yu Chan shared her journey with the IB and how it assisted in her professional and personal growth. Hui Yu Chan graduated with a Bachelor of Business in 2018 and is now in her final year of a master’s in Information technology at Flinders University, South Australia. We remember her speech with the quote,
“Embrace diversity and nurture a culture of inclusion.”
Our closing Keynote speaker and formerly named Australia’s Keynote Speaker of the Year, Michael McQueen provided attendees with a clear action plan for engaging today’s students while equipping them for tomorrow. This thought-provoking session detailed the megatrends we can expect to see in the coming decades and how educators and students can prepare for success. We remember his speech with the quote, “If we don’t look at change as an opportunity to grow and innovate, it’s our students who will really lose out.”
In addition to the general sessions, attendees were able to participate in more than 90 peer-to-peer and IB staff breakout sessions across four different tracks.
These covered a wide range of the most relevant topics for IB educators and the larger global community today. From educational technology and innovation to inclusive education and well-being, learning and teaching to leadership, there were plenty of learning opportunities for everyone.
Session highlights included the following:
- Diversity, equity and inclusion in the IB: Sharing our schools’ stories—Dr Michèle Rice, the IB’s first Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, facilitated an insightful panel discussion with IB Senior Authorization Manager, Monita Sen, with the schools where they will share their DEI initiatives as well as the promises they envision as the IB has formalized their commitment to DEI. This panel contributed to understanding more about the issues facing schools on their DEI journey and the role of curriculum development in engaging all students. Find out more by reading the IB’s Diversity, equity and inclusion statement.
- Curating professional growth for new IB educators — Olson Kelly and Nancy Macharia explored ways that IB teachers can reflect and identify their professional development needs. We loved this leadership session that equipped educators with the necessary skills for positive career growth.
- Diploma Programme curriculum update — Darlyne Delaney gave attendees an opportunity to learn more about curriculum development updates for the IB Diploma Programme. Particular insights were given to subject launches for 2023, 2024 and 2025.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our community of passionate educators, presenters, exhibitors and sponsors for joining us in Adelaide. The success of this conference would not have been possible without you.
See you at IB Global Conference, Daegu 2024!
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